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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pirate Party gains seats but comes third in Iceland election

The Pirate Party did not come first as had been predicted in some earlier polls but it did improve its performance winning 10 seats in the 63 seat Icelandic legislature with 14.5 percent of the popular vote, an increase of 9.4 percent from last election.

The big loser was the Progressive Party of Prime Minister Sigurdur Johannsson which lost 11 seats. Its popular vote was just 11.5 percent a decline of 12.9 percent. The other main coalition partner, the Independence Party actually came first with 29 percent of the vote up 2.3 percent and winning 21 seats up two from the last election. The Pirate Party went from three seats to 10. The sharp decline in the number of seats for the Progressive Party leaves the two coalition partners with only 29 seats short of the 34 needed for a majority. The coalition will need to attract other parties to join the coalition if they are to form a majority government.
The Left-Green Party won 10 seats with 15.9 percent of the vote up five percent from last election. The Regeneration Party won seven seats with 10.5 percent of the vote up 10.5 percent from last election. Bright Future won 7.2 percent of the vote winning four seats and dropped one percent. Finally, the Social Democratic Alliance won three seats with 5.7 percent of the vote, down 7.2 percent from last time.
Pirate Party leader Birgitta Jonsdottir said: "Whatever happens, we have created a wave of change in the Icelandic society." Pirate Bjor Gunnarson who ran in a district of the capital Reykjavik said:"Being a Pirate means protecting and expanding civil rights. It means direct democracy, transparency, freedom of expression, the right to privacy in the digital age and an informed decision-making process. Success in the elections will mean a new constitution, a new deal between people and power. It will mean that the legislative power is a service to its people rather than an authority,"In 2013 the Icelandic Pirate Party one of over 60 Pirate Parties around the world made history by electing three members of the legislature. Before this election some polls had the Pirate Party coming first. While this turned out to be incorrect, the group did quite well and was not disappointed in the results. Jonsdottir said: "Our internal predictions showed 10 to 15 percent, so this is at the top of the range," she told Reuters. "We knew that we would never get 30 percent."
The election showed that not just the Pirate Party was gaining but other anti-establishment and also leftist parties were gaining. The Left-Green Movement that came second would like a governing coalition consisting of all the parties except the two in the ruling coalition the Independence and Progressive Party. The group would include the Pirates, Regeneration, Bright Future and Social Democratic Alliance and would have 34 seats a bare majority. The Left-Green Party leader Katrin Jakobsdottir told Iceland's president that she is "totally prepared to participate in and even lead a five-party governing coalition". The president is to meet all party leaders today to talk to them about possible alliances and about to whom to give the mandate to first try and form a government. However, the right-of-center Independence Party would appear to be in the driver's seat with 29 percent of the votes and by far the most seats of any party. The new Regeneration Party may be a deal maker. As a liberal breakaway from the Progressive Party it may not agree to join the ruling coalition.

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